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What is a Password?

Updated on January 15, 2010


A password is a secret word, a number, or a combination of the two that must be typed on the keyboard to get access to the computer system.In a computer, a Password is applied to limit the use of a computer system or software. Only those persons who know the password can use the system. These are called the persons authorized to use the system.A password protected system or software asks for the password before its execution. If the person is authorized to use the system and knows the password, he types it. The system of software confirms the password and its executions starts if correct password is entered.Otherwise, the system or software does not execute.

The authorized persons can change passwords. The authorized persons must keep their passwords secret. They should not forget their passwords.While adopting a password for a system or software, the following points must be kept in mind:

  • The password should not be a commonly used word.
  • The password must be a combination of alphabetic letters and numeric digits.
  • The password should be written down in a notebook because if it is forgotten, the system cannot be run.
  • The password should be changed at least once a month.

Examples of Password Protection

1. Different computers have different set-up of configurations i.e. the arrangement of their parts. These configurations are given in the set-up of the computers. The computer set-up is usually Accessed by pressing Del key after staring the computer The user of the computer sets the configurations according to his needs and can protect them with a password. Only the person who knows the password can enter the set-up of the computer and make changes in it. Thus the computer set-up is protected from being changed by unauthorized persons. The authorized person can, however, also change the password.

2. When one gets the membership of an Internet Service Provider (ISP), he or she is given a user name and a password. The user name is usually the name- of the person and the password is the secret code that he uses to access the ISP.

While the user name of the person remains the same, the password can be changed. All ISPs give a procedure for changing it.


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